Fatal Accident – What happened?
During July 2018 an 18 year old construction worker was killed at work.
The victim and his colleague had been tasked with clearing debris from manholes at a house-build construction site in Boston Lincolnshire.
The victim was lying on the ground with his head and torso in the manhole
The victims colleague was asked to move their van and was unaware that the victim was positioned directly in front of the van
As the van pulled forwards one of the wheels entered the top of the manhole contacting the victim
The victim was taken to hospital but later died as a result of serious crush injuries.
What the HSE investigation found
• Neither the Principal Contractor (PC) nor the Groundworks sub-contractor (GWC) had ensured that the work was planned in such a way so as to ensure that workers were not exposed to risks to their H&S.
• The manager within the GWC sent employees to carry out the task without a Risk Assessment or Method Statement (RAMS) in place despite having previously produced such information in the past.
• The workers had not been trained to work in a road.
• The workers had not been provided with any equipment to ensure the work was carried out safely.
• The workers had not been provided with any instruction on any safety measures to be used at site.
• The PCs Site Manager had not carried out a site induction for the victim.
• The PCs Site Manager had failed to carry out a suitable check to ensure the workers had the relevant training.
• The PCs Site Manager failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place with adequate control measures.
• The PC was found guilty of contravening Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSAWA) and was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £15,765 in costs.
• The Groundworks sub-contactor (GWC) admitted contravening section 2(1) of the HSAWA and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,264.
• The manager of the GWC was found guilty of contravening section 7(a) of the HSAWA and was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay costs of £1,200.
• The PC site manager was found guilty of contravening section 7(a) of the HSAWA. He was sentenced to 8 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay costs of £1,200
What can be learnt
Why not use the below as a checklist and compare some of your current works against it
• The HSE stated that ‘this was a completely avoidable incident caused by a multitude of failures
• You must plan and risk assess your work. Document the hazards and how they will be controlled
• Ensure that your team hold the relevant qualifications and experience (competence) to carry out the works
• Ensure that the hazards, controls, and safe method of work is communicated to the team under signature
• Ask your operatives to undertake a short Point of Work Risk Assessment before commencing works. This will help them to identify uncontrolled hazards and will help to put them into a ‘Safety First’ mindset
• Always ensure that pedestrians and vehicles are segregated.. this is a major cause of fatal incidents.
Where possible prevent vehicles from operating near to the working area.
Erect barriers and bump stops around the working area
Erect signage around the working area
• Put speed limits in place
• Where visibility and space are limited ensure vehicle movements are assisted by a banksman.
• Site Managers you have a responsibility to check that RAMS are in place, operatives hold relevant training, and works are carried out safely.